In less than a month I will join nine other new media journalists on a reporting trip to Zambia as an International Reporting Zambia Fellow. We will be charged with learning more about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and their affects on the Zambian citizens, report on the problems and Zambia’s national and community-led efforts to combat them. Leading up to, during, and after our trip to Zambia at the end of July I will report on these communicable diseases and how they acutely affect women, children, and families. You can read all of my content on the ZAMBIA tag.
This week George W. Bush will visit Zambia and Tanzania along with former first lady Laura Bush. They will be in Africa at the same time as the Obamas this week who will visit Tanzania, Senegal, and South Africa. Bush will be visiting Zambia to refurbish a health clinic used primarily to diagnose and treat cervical and breast cancer through the Bush Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative. Michelle Obama is slated to join Laura Bush for the Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa event ad forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for African first ladies.
Last week Bush praised Zambia for its ongoing efforts to get a handle on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the country that ranks tenth in the highest HIV rates in the world even though Zambia showed a greater then 50 percent decrease in HIV infection since 2001 according to UNAIDS latest global report on HIV/AIDS released in November 2012. Additionally, according to the same UNAIDS report, Zambia also recorded a greater than 50 percent reduction in its HIV death rate from 2001 – 2011.
Lusaka Times reports that Bush told Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Palan Mulonda, “I am happy with the Zambian government for its commitment to the fight HIV/AIDS as evident by the budgetary allocation to the health sector.” Between 2009 – 2011 Zambia has received $153 million dollars through, the United States President’s Partnership Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Based on data gleaned from the Global Fund 450,000 Zambians are currently on ARTs. To date, 76% of the $582 million of grants is dedicated to HIV/ AIDS. It is also important to note the Global Fund grant performance for Zambia has hovered around adequate as opposed to exceeding or meeting expectations. The grants that have experienced some of the most success have been given to Churches Health Association of Zambia’s Program to Combat HIV/AIDS and United Nations Development Programme, Zambia, both with an A1 scored in grant performance.
At a glance, 11 percent of Zambia’s adults have HIV/AIDS according to UNICEF. 460,000 women and 170,000 children in Zambia have HIV/AIDS. The country is moving rapidly to prevent increased HIV/AIDS especially as the country experiences a youth bulge and many young girls have early sex.
You can follow all of my coverage about Zambia at mombloggersforsocialgood.com/tag/zambia.
Photo: United Nations